WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
About The Production
Principal photography on What Dreams May Come began in late June 1997 in Montana's Glacier National Park, culminating in the San Francisco Bay area 75 days later
Principal photography on What Dreams May Come began in
late June 1997 in Montana's Glacier National Park, culminating
in the San Francisco Bay area 75 days later. "The first thing
we did was to try to figure out where we could construct these
huge (majestic) vistas," says Co-Producer Alan Blomquist.
"Some were done on computer but many were done 'in camera'."
The greensmen on the film literally imported flowers and plants
to the park and all over the Bay Area.
Interiors were built at Treasure Island in San Francisco where
the construction crew erected gigantic sets in vast, empty hangars
bigger than most sound stages in Los Angeles. There, a 300,000
gallon pool was flooded with water and multi-story sets were built
around it. The design team arranged the sets as if they were on
an operatic stage, Blomquist notes. The pond was the central set
piece and "we had set changes like act changes, that is a
set is taken out and an entirely new set is brought in."
Production designer Eugenio Zanetti and scores of artists realized
the concept of Chris' Painted World afterlife as envisioned by
director Vincent Ward. After death, Chris wakes up in a bed of
brush-stroked flowers whose petals move in the wind. "The
whole second act is basically within this painting," subtly
set up by the first, notes Zanetti. "It introduces some classical
images about 'the other side' that are important but it also allows
us to create a mood through painting. From there we free ourselves
from those images and go further."
Since all the images in Chris' afterlife are rooted in his earthly
world, his daughter Marie's World was fashioned from the toy miniature
theater her mother made, complete with an enormous staircase,
a 'bridge city' and a marionette theater that springs to life.
Chris' nightmarish recollection of unresolved issues with his
son centered around a ship graveyard from an ancient battlefield
filled with dying soldiers, derived from the boy's toy models,
and an aircraft carrier as seen in flashback, explains Zanetti.
A 1,200-foot long aircraft carrier at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard
became passage into the Underworld for the graveyard sequence.
It proved a "huge canvas to paint on," notes Blomquist,
with the horrifying images of a sea of suffering faces and the
squirming pack of Hellions clawing at Chris as he descends into
Hell's upside down cathedral, only to find the crumbling shell
of Annie's imagined home nearby. It is the polar opposite of her
lush Italian villa depicted in earlier scenes of Chris' afterlife.
In searching for an overall painterly style, Ward found his muse
in the works of Monet, Van Gogh and the 19th-Century German romanticists,
such as Casper David Friedrich. "The German romantics were
fascinating because they believed that nature was more powerful
than man," Ward says. "They created a sense of paradise
that's not a tame place. It's a place of roaring winds and twisted
trees and steep mountains and mist.., incredibly beautiful but
at the same time quite alone. Friedrich seemed to convey that
more in his work than anybody else."
After several script rewrites, Ward, Zanetti and Art Director
Thomas Voth began assembling their team, bringing in artists from
all over the world to render Heaven and Hell. Stephen Hannock
was one of the contemporary artists who captured the mood and
atmosphere Ward desired for Annie's paintings. Hannock builds
up an imag
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